2012-12-21 / Columnists

Simon says...

From the Desk of Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. Part B

Lew M. Simon Lew M. Simon As we sit again and write our weekly column, we are continuing to be depressed, heartbroken and upset for all. As we go around to all community meetings and events, we still have anger that FEMA is not cutting the red tape and leaving people with nothing. We met people in Far Rockaway, Arverne, Rockaway Park and Broad Channel whose needs are not being met. At this moment people are sitting in darkness with no heat almost two months since the storm.

We would like to thank Mathew Gorton from the Mayor's office who has been there to respond and assist. He has always been a great asset.

Kathryn Mallon P.E., Deputy Commissioner of the Bureau of Engineering Design and Construction of DEP. Mallon is aware that Rapid Repair has started and stopped and left people in the cold. When you sit with her you know that her heart is as big as could be. Another special angel has been Chief Edward Valentine, Chief of the Rockaway Point Volunteers, who worked 24-7 non-stop with very minimal sleep through this horrific disaster. He and his crew assisted hundreds of people to safety as their homes were ablaze. Each and every night we were in touch getting boots, gloves, masks, blankets and food for those most in need. Valentine thanks Chief Richard Colleran and his Roxbury Volunteers, who were the first to get their hoses on the fire and worked as a team with Rockaway Point.

We must also give recognition to the Broad Channel Volunteers who rescued so many under the leadership of Danny McIntyre. The West Hamilton Beach Volunteers assisted and aided so many in rescues as the waters came into Hamilton Beach and Howard Beach.

Joseph Aldan is Chief of


We'd like to give a special shout out to someone who I watched grow up and I'm still proud of. Christine McGregor, who now lives in Long Beach, has not forgotten her Rockaway birthplace. She was extremely helpful with the Toys of Hope program. God bless for all you've done.

Assemblyman Phil

Goldfeder is the biggest angel and a major godsend to the 23rd A.D. A young father of two, who also had his home destroyed, he has been working around the clock to assist us all. Last July 2011, when he was a candidate for the Assembly, he sat down with our experts on the Rockaway Beach line of the LIRR. George Haikalis, a renowned mass transit advocate and engineer and Norman Silverman,

Co-chair of the Rockaway subcommittee of the Regional Rail Working Group, and I presented pictures, slides, facts and figures about what we used to have and why we really need it reopened. Since then, Phil's issue has been reactivation. He got with the concept and is running with it.

On 12/12/12 we joined Brent Scudder to light the Hope Christmas tree on Beach 94 Street near Shorefront Parkway. We proceeded to Community Board 6 in Forest Hills, where Phil gave a passionate speech of the need to reactivate the Rockaway Beach line now. Pearls of wisdom came out of his mouth. His calm and pleasing demeanor and major knowledge of the issue made me kvell with pride at the outstanding job he did. When it came to the handful of questions and a few naysayers, he handles it like a champ with full respect. Phil, you sure proved yourself to the 23rd A.D.

We attended the beautiful tree lighting in the Breezy Point shopping center. The beautiful children of the Tiny Tots singing group and The Girl Scouts sang. It was amazing how so many people who lost all they own were sharing their love with each other. The hugging and kissing meant so much to everyone especially me.

On Friday evening we attended a fundraiser for young Rev. Gary Patrylo who was burned in a fire. The money is being used to pay his expenses. They lost their ministry at the House On The Rock Church. Thanks to the kindness of the Irish Circle for holding the fundraiser. Checks in the name of Rev. Patrylo may be sent or left at the Irish Circle.

An outstanding asset at this time is the Department of Motor Vehicles office located at the old Coast Guard station just past the Marine Bridge. You can surrender plates, get a new driver's license, learner's permit or non-driver's license there. Take advantage of this location. We are praying they stay there.

Please continue to send your contributions to the Graybeards who are Rockaway's best charitable organization. They really are.

Ronald Rhyne, of Dayton Towers West, was super active as we started to try to get rid of the Crossbay Bridge toll. He was an outstanding man who spoke from his heart. He is definitely a special angel in God's heaven. My deepest sympathy for his family.

On Saturday December 22, the Verizon Wireless at 273 Beach 116 Street, will have Open House from 12 Noon to 4 p.m. It is a great place to get those last minute gifts. We wish my family, friends and constituents Merry Christmas. We know the pain is here, but we mustn't forget its significance.

Another local business is back. Quick Spin Laundromat at 114-05 Beach Channel Drive is up and running from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tiffany does a great job.

My heroine is Victoria Soto, the teacher who lost her life, but made sure her six and seven year old angels were safe. That's what teachers do each and every day to help children. Remember to hug a teacher and hug your children.

We are in need of a desktop computer to help us to continue to help the community.

If you can donate a computer call me at 718-945-1216.

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